TOWN OF NIAGARA – The Town Board was deadlocked Tuesday on a proposal to give additional duties to the town engineer.
With Supervisor Steven C. Richards absent from the meeting, the four councilmen voted along party lines on a resolution by Deputy Supervisor Danny W. Sklarski to make the engineer responsible for a number of significant items mostly related to town development.
Brought up as a late agenda item, Sklarski’s proposal would have the engineer prepare a plan of action for the Army Reserve Center on Porter Road, which is expected to be turned over to the town by the Department of Defense and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in the next few months.
The board has discussed creating an industrial park for “airport-related” businesses at the 22-acre site.
“I’m disappointed this did not pass,” Sklarski said after the vote. “If the keys are turned over to us in a couple of months, we need to hit the ground running.” Only Councilman Charles F. Teixeira, a Democrat, voted with Sklarski.
Before the vote, Democratic Councilman Marc M. Carpenter tried to get the board to table the matter so it could be discussed at a future work session. With Councilman Robert A. Clark the only one to support the tabling effort, Carpenter’s move failed.
Carpenter made a second attempt to discuss the resolution before the item vote, but Sklarski, who was presiding over the meeting, refused. He said that he had already called for discussion but that there was no response. Carpenter explained that his sole intention was to have the matter discussed before the vote.
The other duties on the list were for the engineer to develop plans to replace the roof on the shelter at Veterans Memorial Park, construct protective dugouts at the baseball diamonds, change and update the town master plan and zoning laws, and update policies and procedures of the Building Department.
The issue was brought up last week at a work session when Clark asked why the engineer was answering questions from the public in the Town Building Inspector’s Office. One building inspector position was eliminated in 2012, and another was reduced to part-time during budget sessions.
Teixeira got the board to agree to have the inspector post his office hours on the town website so the public would know when to apply for permits.